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Worcester Breaks Ground on Gateway Park Brownfield Redevelopment

A historic groundbreaking on June 27, 2005, marked another milestone in Worcester’s Gateway Park redevelopment project, which is turning a former industrial brownfield into an 11-acre mixed-use, life sciences-based park. Representatives from the region’s business, civic, and academic communities gathered to celebrate the start of the project’s first building — the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park.

The four-story facility, located at 60-68 Prescott Street, will consist of new construction to house modern laboratories and support facilities, and a renovated former industrial building to provide space for offices, meeting rooms, and other amenities. Construction of the approximately 124,600 square-foot center is scheduled to be completed in early 2007. It is a joint development of the Worcester Business Development Corporation and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and will mark an investment in the property of more than $35 million. Several prominent guests were on hand to address the attendees, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA), EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Ira W. Leighton, Worcester City Manager Michael V. O’Brien, and Worcester Mayor Timothy P. Murray, along with the leaders of the building’s co-developers — WBDC President David P. Forsberg and WPI President Dennis D. Berkey.

"This partnership means the jobs of the future, the discoveries of the future, and the industries of the future have a home here in central Massachusetts," said Sen. Kennedy. " Worcester stands at the cutting-edge of innovation and discovery in this new century of life sciences. Today, we begin creating the 2,500 jobs, including the 300 biomedical research jobs, that the Worcester Business Development Corporation estimates will result."

"I am so proud of the Gateway Park project," noted Rep. McGovern. "Just 18 months from now, a $35 million, state-of-the-art research center will be standing, built with the help of our hard-working, highly-skilled, best-trained workers in organized labor. That same building will be populated by some of the brightest minds our city, this Commonwealth, and the world has to offer. It will be a place where life-changing advances in science and medicine will meet the precision manufacturing our city has long been known for. And, it will continue the transformation of Worcester into a 21st-century city and a center for bioengineering and medical research."

The center was designed by architects Tsoi/Kobus & Associates of Boston. It features two main structures connected by a landscaped courtyard and a four-story bridge structure containing core facilities for both main wings (including elevators) along with retail, office, and meeting space. The connected structures are a new four-story laboratory building, and a smaller renovated four-story industrial building that will include space for office or retail uses on the first level, and office and meeting facilities for WPI on the upper levels. The general contractor for the center is Consigli Construction Co. Inc., of Milford, Mass.

The anchor tenant of the center will be WPI, which will occupy nearly 75% of the space. The center will serve as the focal point for the university’s graduate research in the life sciences and related engineering fields, and will house the graduate research programs in biology and biotechnology, biomedical engineering, and chemistry and biochemistry, along with the university’s Bioengineering Institute. The remainder of the space will be leased to businesses and commercial entities.

The laboratory space will provide the most up-to-date facilities for "wet" research in the life sciences, and be flexible enough to anticipate the changing nature of advanced research in these fields in the years ahead. The lab bench areas will be modular, making it possible to easily allocate and reallocate space as the needs and interests of researchers change.

Shared analytical and other support facilities for research will be located in common areas for easy access, and the building will be equipped with the latest in high-speed networking technology, including a high-speed link to the main WPI campus data network and to Internet2.

"Initiating construction at Gateway Park signals our confidence in the ultimate success of this important component of downtown Worcester’s development," said WPI President Dennis D. Berkey. "It is a significant step forward for WPI, for the partnership with the WBDC, and for the city. Locating our life sciences and bioengineering research, and graduate education programs here in state-of-the-art facilities will bring an important scientific core to this development, which will enrich WPI’s educational efforts and attract potential collaborators to the site, both academic and corporate."

"The WBDC is proud of the partnership we have with WPI and grateful for the support we have received from other partners, both public and private," added WBDC President David Forsberg. "This is just the beginning. Gateway Park is well on the way to becoming a vibrant mixed-use district anchored by the life sciences. This project will be the stimulus for attracting private investment and new jobs for Worcester."

About Gateway Park
Located in Worcester, Mass., the Gateway Park project is a redevelopment of an 11-acre mixed-use, life sciences-based campus on the site of former brownfield adjacent to downtown and interstate 290. It is being developed through a public-private partnership between Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Worcester Business Development Corporation, and is incorporated as Gateway Park, LLC.

With the presence of WPI’s graduate and research programs in areas related to the life sciences, the park (part of the larger Gateway District) aims to attract businesses — especially those in the biomedical and medical devices industries — to Worcester and play an important role in the economic, cultural, and social development of the city and region.

In addition to the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at 60-68 Prescott Street, the development will include a parking facility for about 680 cars. The master plan for the project includes three additional pad-ready sites that will support buildings of 80,000, 100,000, and 160,000 square feet. An additional 1.7 acre parcel is available for housing development.

Prime leasing and development opportunities are available at Gateway Park — including approximately 28,000 square feet of space in the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, and the Gateway Park pad sites. For more information on opportunities for business and commercial entities, please call the Worcester Business Development Corporation at 508-755-5734.


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